Vitor Meira and the ABC Supply team are in their third season together and making their third appearance in the Grand Prix of Long Beach. In the 2010 event, Meira finished 11th after starting 14th. Following his 12th place finish at Barber Motorsports Park last weekend, he is tenth in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.
Vitor Meira on the Long Beach street circuit: “There’s a lot of tradition there; it’s a very famous course because of the drivers who’ve raced there, it gets great crowds and it’s always a fun weekend because of the general atmosphere. Last year it was one of the best street races we had aside from Brazil. I’m really confident and looking forward to going back to Long Beach especially with the improvements that have been made in our ABC Supply team since we were there last year. As for the circuit itself, the good thing about that street circuit is that long main straight—street courses with long straights make for good opportunities to pass. At Long Beach, you can pass also on the backstretch and coming into the second third gear complex so it’s a good street course for passing. What you have to watch out for is the hairpin, the last turn! Very often cars are getting together there and it shuts down the track so you can’t pull through. You have to be really careful not to try to pass there because it’s always very inviting. You really think you can pass there but once you get in there, the car doesn’t have enough radius to turn, so a lot of people get stuck there.”
Meira on the double file restarts (post Barber): “I think it’s been very complicated. In my personal opinion, it causes less crashes to have single file restarts. But, if the fans approve the double file restarts, that’s what we have to keep doing because the bottom line is it’s up to the fans. I’m sure IndyCar is looking at it because they also know we’re having a lot of crashes. If it was up to me to decide, I would go back to single file restarts.” [Even though you’ve gained by them?] “I am looking at it as restarts in general, not for myself. If I just looked at it for myself, I would keep letting everybody crash—it’s been working for us. But looking at the big picture, if cars keep crashing all the time, at some point the weaker teams are going to start pulling out because there’s too many crashes and not everybody has the budget for that.”
Meira on key factors for the race: “Like every street course, we have to qualify well, but we have to race better. In Barber, I saw that it was going to be very hard to pass and it was, but passing could be done. If passing could be done in Barber, we will definitely be able to do that in Long Beach. So even if you don’t qualify great, you’ll still be able to move forward if you have a good race car—you need a solid qualifying car but an even better race car.” ""Like every street course, we have to qualify well, but we have to race better.|Vitor Meira|right''
Last year at Long Beach: Meira started 14th and finished 11th for what he termed “a fair result.” The race had only one caution period for four laps making it a physically demanding event.
Thomas Semik II wins the Jim Greer Award of Excellence for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama: Semik won the award for putting in extra hours in the race shop to prep the car for the race weekend. Jim Greer, longtime friend of A.J. Foyt, created an award to recognize outstanding performance at race events among the Foyt team members. The recipient, determined by team manager Craig Baranouski and crew chief Tom Howatt, receives a monetary bonus and his name (and the race) engraved on a plaque which will hang in the AJ Foyt Racing Showroom.